Accommodations Information & Guidance

Please remember to maintain confidentiality when speaking to students regarding their accommodations. Students are not required to disclose the nature of their disability to instructors.

In our efforts to better service students, the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services (CARS) will email Faculty Letters and Accommodation Plans directly to the instructors.

What does this mean to faculty? Instructors will receive an email from, (cc:student), which will include a locked password protected two page Faculty Letter and Accommodation Plan.

Please Note: Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations will only apply from the date of the Semester Accommodation Meeting (at the top of the Accommodation Plan letter), going forward. Accommodations approved will not apply to course work or tests that were required to be completed prior to this.

Accessibility of Digital & Online Materials/Universal Design

Incorporating the principles of universal design into your teaching enhances the accessibility of the curriculum to a variety of learners, including second language learners and students with disabilities, etc. Please use and/or design accessible materials in all courses including online, web enhanced, hybrid courses and traditional courses.

Examples of universal design: 

  • Posting class notes online for all students to benefit, reducing the need for a note taker accommodation. 
  • Ordering digital textbooks that are compatible with screen reading software.
  • Provide captioned videos.

For more information and resources on Accessible Media please visit:  Accessible Media at NECC.

Order Accessible Materials: Check with the vendor as newer versions of digital materials may be accessible. 

Available from the NECC Library – accessible teaching resources: For access off-campus, a library-card number and password are required for sign-in. Please contact a librarian if you need help setting up your library account.

Contact or Visit: The Center for Instructional Technology, (978) 556-3681.

Accessible Furniture Accommodation – for in-person courses

Accessible Furniture may be labeled, tagged and placed in classrooms to accommodate students with disabilities.

  • Please do not allow accessible furniture to be moved out of the classroom. For specific questions contact Pam LaBella or 978-556-3654.

Accommodating Attendance/Extended Deadlines Guidelines

This policy has been vetted through Massachusetts Community College Legal Counsel. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADA-AA) recognizes that issues related to disabilities, such as chronic medical conditions, and other conditions that are episodic in nature, or conditions that require hospitalization, may impact attendance and the student’s ability to meet deadlines.

  • This accommodation does not provide automatic flexibility throughout the semester.
  • Students have been informed by the CARS office that they are only to use this accommodation when deemed incapacitated due to specific functional limitations directly related to their disability.
  • Each student approved for this accommodation has a plan specific to the impact of their disability. The amount of the extension will be based upon information provided by the student about their disability as well as documentation from a treating physician or clinician.
  • Student must inform their instructors each time they use the “Flexibility with Attendance & Extended Deadlines” accommodation and specifically indicate when the absence or late assignment is related to the accommodation.
  • Student are responsible for completing any work and obtaining information that they may have missed while not in class. Under some circumstances, students may have missed too many classes or are too far behind to successfully complete the course. In that case, students should discuss options with the instructor and CARS.

If the determined extension plan interferes with the technical requirement of the course, the instructor should contact the student’s CARS Disability Services Specialist.

Accommodation/Service Provider

CARS hires paraprofessionals at Massachusetts minimum wage

  • Peer Note Taker: takes notes when student is present in class or Zoom meeting.
  • Reader: reads as needed; does not interpret information.
  • Scribe: writes down what student dictates; student completes all editing.
  • Visual Aide, Computer Aide – supports students as needed in hands-on courses.

At times, professors can help recruit a peer note taker by announcing that a note taker is needed. Please remember to keep a student’s name confidential when making announcements. Professors can refer the peer note taker to CARS SC111, to sign up and complete necessary paperwork, call 978-556-3654 or email

Assistive Technology Software and Devices

Assistive Technology and training available at the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services.

  • Alternative Formats for Course Textbooks: common formats include; PDF, EPUB, Microsoft Word, RTF/TXT, MP3.
  • Audio Recording Devices: digital recorder or LiveScribe Pen.

Audio Recording Lecture Accommodation:  Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADA-AA) states that students with this accommodation may use digital recorders, smart pens and/or other audio recording devices during class lectures.

The Center for Accessibility Resources & Services requires each student to sign an agreement to acknowledge their rights and to protect the rights of the instructor and other students.

  • Calculators: graphing calculator, talking calculator, enlarged screen calculator.
  • Enlarged Materials: the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services can assist with enlarging handouts and other class materials.
  • Graphic Organizer: helps to clarify and organize ideas and information in preparation for written work.
  • Magnification Software or Device: screen magnification software, handheld device or use of Video Magnifier-CCTV.
  • Text-to-Speech: software that reads aloud digital text.
  • Speech-to-Text: software that converts spoken word into written text.
  • Use of a Computer: use of Word Pad or Microsoft Word (spell/grammar check).

NECC Service Animal Policy

NECC has a posted Service Animal Policy that all Massachusetts Community Colleges use.

The Americans with Disabilities Act’s regulations define “service animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Preferential Seating –  for in-person courses

Common options include: Back Row; Front Row; Near Exit; Near Lights; Near Window.

Testing Accommodations

In-Person Testing Accommodations

If a student requests in-person, accommodated testing proctored by the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services (CARS) please know this involves scheduling staff, space, exam time, and other approved accommodations for each test. Some instructors may choose to coordinate and proctor their own accommodated testing. If a student chooses to take their test at CARS, they must make an appointment with our office. CARS notifies faculty of the test date and time via email with a request for proctoring information. Please submit exams and proctoring information to CARS via email at minimum., three business days in advance. CARS will need instructor approval for rescheduled exams.

On-Line Testing Accommodations

Faculty are responsible for initiating and extending all test times for online tests in Blackboard (MYMath Lab etc.) Extended test time applies to the time once the test is opened by the student and the timer starts. Extended test time does not apply to extending the ‘window’ in which the test is available. For assistance with set up of extended time for online testing, consult with the Center for Instructional Technology.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act requires that accommodated testing must not create an undue burden for students.

Tests that don’t arrive on time for the student’s scheduled exam time can be very frustrating and anxiety provoking for the student.